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    Getting to Know Marcus Stroman

    Last week the New York Mets traded two pitching prospects 24-year-old lefty Anthony Kay and 18-year-old right-hander Simeon Woods-Richardson for Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman.

    Name: Marcus Earl Stroman Born: May 1, 1991 (age 28) in Medford, New York 

    MLB debut: May 4, 2014, for the Toronto Blue Jays 

    Drafted: 18th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft (532nd overall) by the Washington Nationals, but did not sign. He then attended Duke University. 

    Major in college: Sociology 

    MLB statistics (through July 24, 2019): Win–loss record: 47–45 ERA: 3.76 Strikeouts: 635 Salary 2019: $7,400,000 

    You grew up on Long Island, so does that mean that you were a Mets fan growing up? 

    Actually, I was a Yankees fan growing up. I wasn’t a diehard, but I just enjoyed going to games. I was a Derek Jeter fan and a huge Robinson Cano fan. 

    When you were in college you had some big seasons at Duke, what was your overall experience like there? What other schools were you considering? 

    I wasn’t highly recruited out of high school. I didn’t get any recognition until my senior year after I’d already committed to Duke. I talked to a couple Ivy League schools, Stanford for a little bit, but Duke ended up being the best choice. It was closer to home on the East Coast. My parents didn’t want to let me go to some baseball factory and not get a good education. I believe you are 5 feet 8 inches tall. You are one of only six pitchers shorter than 5 feet 10 inches to make a start at the MLB level in the 21st century. I guess your height has been a topic of discussion your entire professional career, and some folks have compared you to Tom Gordon. 

    Who do you think you’re most comparable to? 

    Honestly, I’m starting to believe the Tom Gordon comparisons myself because I’ve heard it so many times. I’ve heard it since I was in High School. I’ve never had the opportunity to see him pitch, but I had a pitching coach once who played with Tom Gordon and he said the same thing. I guess it’s accurate and it’s not a bad comparison. He played what, 17, 18 years in the Majors? I’ll take that any day. 

    Was baseball always a big part of your life growing up? 

    Growing up, I played all three sports — basketball, baseball and football. Baseball was always my third favorite. I still have a huge love for basketball — if I had been blessed with height, I would have played. It was my favorite, but I knew I would make it further in baseball, so I dedicated myself to that in the eighth or ninth grade. My dad never played baseball, he was a football guy but he pushed me to do it. He’d take me all over, so I definitely have to thank my mom and father for doing that growing up. I love playing the game of baseball. I love competing. When I’m between those lines, it’s kind of a different savage, a different demon that is out there. I kind of go to a dark place to put myself where I need to be. I’m very passionate and I’m very emotional. But away from the field, I’m very relaxed and I’m kind of the opposite. So I’m excited. If my energy rubs off on some of the guys, that would be amazing. 

    How excited are you to be back in your home town playing for the New York Mets? 

    Coming home is huge. I was in Toronto for six years so I had to pack up all my stuff. To be back home, pitching in front of friends and family, is going to be an amazing time. I think that we already have a great pitching staff here in NewYork, probably one of the best, and I’m looking to just add to that. Looking forward! (Marcus’ father Earl Stroman told Newsday last week that he assumed his son would be traded to the Yankees or Astros, which had been the buzz before the Mets became heavily involved. “He was hoping it was the Yankees a little bit,” Stroman said. “He was kind of psyched, maybe hoping to go there. I’m not going to tell you that he wasn’t. If he was to leave Toronto at all. Don’t forget, Marcus loved Toronto, his heart was there. The brass [management] didn’t kind of appreciate him as much as the fans did. The whole country took to him and they took to me.”)